Fantasy Football: Waiver-Wire Plays Guaranteed to Save Your Season

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystSeptember 22, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 09:  Quarterback Matt Cassel #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs passes during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 9, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

I've been saying this a lot over the past week or so, and I have a feeling that I'll be saying it even more in the next couple weeks: Two weeks into a fantasy football season is WAY too soon to panic.

In temporary violation of the "nobody cares about your fantasy football team but you" rule, I've started seasons 0-4 and 1-5 and won championships. I've started 0-5 and made the playoffs.

With that said, every loss digs the hole a little deeper, so if you're sitting at 0-2 and staring at a hole in your lineup, here are a few last-minute waiver-wire pickups that should be available if you feel like you need to gamble in search of a big score this week.


Matt Cassel, QB, Kansas City Chiefs (at NO)

Injuries haven't really hit the quarterback position yet this season, but there have still been some clunker performances. Fantasy owners who have Peyton Manning are probably pretty nervous this week given last week's stinker and this week's matchup with a formidable Houston Texans defense.

Enter quarterback Matt Cassel of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Stop laughing at me.

Sure, the Chiefs have been just this side of terrible, and the eight-year veteran hasn't helped matters by turning the ball over five times in two games.

However, Cassel is fresh off a 20-plus fantasy point outing against the Buffalo Bills and faces a New Orleans Saints defense on Sunday that is allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks and has surrendered a ridiculous 12.5 yards per passing attempt so far.


Leonard Hankerson, WR, Washington Redskins (vs. CIN)

When quarterback Robert Griffin III takes the field for the home opener in Washington this week in front of a crowd that will be off the chain, he will do so without his top weapon in the passing game, as Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon will most likely miss his second straight game with a foot injury.

That moves Leonard Hankerson into the starting lineup in the nation's capital. The second-year pro caught two passes in last week's loss to the St. Louis Rams, including a 68-yard touchdown bomb. In addition, the former Miami standout appears to have supplanted Aldrick Robinson as the favorite to start as the "X" receiver for the Redskins against the Cincinnati Bengals.

That could make Hankerson a sneaky fantasy start this week, as the Cincinnati secondary has appeared vulnerable this season, allowing the 10th-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this year.


Brandon Gibson, WR, St. Louis Rams (at CHI)

Leonard Hankerson isn't the only wide receiver available in many fantasy football leagues to help owners with the rash of injuries that have felled the likes of Garcon, Hakeem Nicks of the New York Giants, Greg Jennings of the Green Bay Packers and Jeremy Maclin of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Lost somewhat in the 15-catch, 160-yard explosion from St. Louis Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola last week was the fact that his batterymate, four-year pro Brandon Gibson, had his second straight solid fantasy outing of the young season.

Gibson now has a touchdown catch in each of the Rams' games this year, and while the Bears don't represent an especially good fantasy matchup for wide receivers, they don't represent an especially bad one either.

Add in the fact that Amendola will likely be the focus of the Bears' defensive game plan against the pass, and it's not hard to imagine Gibson seeing the sort of uptick in targets that could lead to solid fantasy production for a third straight week.